St Jude Medical Inc
The initial quarterly dividend of 21 cents per share will be paid on April 29, to stockholders of record at the close of business on March 31.
On an annual basis, the payout represents a dividend yield of 1.75 percent, based on Friday's closing stock price.
St Jude Chief Executive Daniel Starks said the company has reached a scale where it can return value to shareholders through a dividend while continuing to invest in research, share repurchases and acquisitions.
Last week, health insurer WellPoint Inc
It is a trend across more health-care companies. St Jude has strong cash flow and they are under-leveraged, so they have the ability to do it, said Jeff Jonas, a portfolio manager at Gabelli Health and Wellness Trust Mutual Fund, which holds St Jude shares.
Some medical device makers including Medtronic Inc
St Jude's shares slid about 20 cents to $47.82 in late morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf and Susan Kelly, editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Maureen Bavdek)